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Swiss business gains on the competition

Swiss businesses are becoming more competitive, according to the World Economic Forum.

In its 2002 report the WEF ranked Switzerland sixth in terms of global competitiveness, up nine places from last year's 15th position.

Heading the table was the United States, which overtook Finland as global leader. Taiwan, Singapore and Sweden all made the top five.

Innovation

WEF spokesman Peter Cornelius said that one of Switzerland's key strengths was its business environment, adding: "the innovation taking place within Swiss enterprises is its other major asset."

Many sectors earmarked "at least 15 per cent of their turnover for research and development", Cornelius added.

Innovation had also helped other countries retain their competitiveness, he said, citing the example of Japan, which had maintained its position despite the weak economic climate.

Other countries with crisis-hit economies fared worse. Argentina and Turkey slid down the rankings because of the weakness of their public institutions, the report said.

Israel, on the other hand, had jumped from 26th to seventh place, just behind Switzerland, thanks to its technological advances.

80 countries studied

The WEF said 4,700 business leaders had been interviewed for the study that compared the economies of 80 countries.

The survey has been published every year since 1979.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Switzerland was ranked sixth out of 80 countries for global competitiveness.
Last year Switzerland was ranked 15th.
The United States topped the table, followed by Finland, Taiwan, Singapore and Sweden.
Israel leapt from 26th to seventh place.

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